Happy Universal Children’s Day!

In preparing for this post, I was determined to keep it positive. At the end of the day, there is nothing more amazing than children. Children are born perfect, pure, unbiased, without prejudices and full of unconditional love. Oh to stay like that forever!

As they grow, they watch and copy our words, our actions, our responses. They become exposed to a larger world, and to all kinds of beautiful experiences as well as risks and dangers. They are influenced by what they hear, what they see. They start making sense of the world around them in their own way, and according to their developmental stage. Their childhood experiences even determine their health as adults. Children who are exposed to abuse and neglect grow up to suffer increased risk of depression and other mental and physical diseases. They also often grow to replicate the same behaviour in others, not knowing better and sometimes unable to break the cycle.

Yet, how often we forget how important children are to our own and humanity’s future, and the future of the planet. We take for granted that teachers at school will do all the hard work and we don’t support or appreciate those teachers enough. We don’t provide enough opportunities for working parents to give children enough quality time. We make it hard for single parents and those who live under the poverty line to make a living and allow their children to enjoy their childhoods. We often let their voices be drowned in our everyday routines and negative narratives about how to raise them. We create gender and race stereotypes from the moment children are born, with colours and toys, cartoons and advertisements, and create a false sense of security by making parents believe that money, toys, and material things are enough to raise the human beings of the future.

And youth, we forget about the youth! We fail to inspire them, to give them hope, to guide them, to mentor them. We spend countless hours in front of our computers, phones, iPads, on social media, and forget how to make time for children of all ages. And they need our time. Being a child is very hard sometimes.

I want to keep this post positive, I do. I don’t want to bring up the suffering that many children around the world experience, I am not even going to talk about their rights. But I would like to remind us all that all children want and need is that we love them, that we believe in them, and that we hear them. They need that, and they deserve nothing less than that. It does not take very much either: reading a book with them, a nice walk in the park, 5 minutes of unguided play, making a cake together, drawing, listening, a hug, being fully present when we are with them… We have the power and responsibility to ensure the best possible childhood for our own children and must do everything we can to do the same for every child we come in contact with, and even those we can’t connect with directly, for example by staying informed about children’s issues and supporting organisations that exist to protect and empower children. Never forget, there is no such thing as other people’s children. They are all our shared responsibility, and joy. Children have so much to say and so much to teach us. Let’s listen. The world can stop for one day. Let children take over the world.  ♥